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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Ai Miyazato to Retire

Earlier this week, it was HaNa Jang announcing she would be leaving the LPGA Tour next month. Now it's Ai Miyazato... but her announcement sounds more final.

Ai Miyazato

According to articles at golfdigest.com, golfchannel.com and espn.com, Ai will be holding a press conference in Japan on Monday to announce her retirement from the LPGA at the end of this year.

Now, it's a bit unclear to me exactly what Ai has in mind. The official (but short) announcement at lpga.com simply says:
Ai Miyazato announces her retirement from the LPGA Tour at the end of the 2017 season and will hold a press conference on May 29 in Japan. There, she will share her thoughts on the decision and will thank all the people who have supported her during her 14-year professional career.
This announcement says she will retire from the LPGA, which could mean that she might play some on the JLPGA. But it also says she "will thank all the people who have supported her during her 14-year professional career."

Ai's LPGA career is only 12 years long, since 2006. She became a pro and joined the JLPGA 14 years ago, in 2004. That sounds like she's calling it quits on any tour.

In many ways, this isn't a surprise. Ai has dealt with a number of injuries over the last few years. Given that she was never a big hitter, it may have been difficult to get back in playing shape. She's also fought putting problems lately, and has only had one Top10 finish in the last two years. GC's article also notes that she's struggled with motivation -- not surprising, given the other problems she's faced.

It will be interesting to hear exactly what she says Monday. But whatever it is, the LPGA -- and golf as a whole -- is going to miss Ai Miyazato.

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